By Lisa Houle | May 19, 2023
Sunscreen, snacks, adventure gear, and more. Are you stocked up and ready for fun?
As we head into the May long weekend – the unofficial start to summer in BC – ISCBC is urging you to remember how damaging invasive species can be, and how easy it is to prevent their spread. If you’re counting down to time in the tent, on the lake, or on the trails, be sure to take care of our natural spaces by adopting a few simple habits.
Louise Pedersen, Executive Director, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, has some tips for enjoying the great outdoors responsibly. The avid outdoor enthusiast shared them with us on an ISCBC webinar during Invasive Species Action Month on May 17th, 2023.
“More people are recreating outdoors than ever before. 70 percent of British Columbians participate in outdoor recreation, in addition to other visitors. What the Outdoor Recreation Council likes to see is responsible recreating. Does that mean we’re taking the fun out of being outside? Not at all. But we all have a responsibility to conduct ourselves individually and as a group in a sustainable way. At the core of responsible recreating is reducing our impact on other people, on wildlife, cultural values and the ecosystems that surround us,” she said.
Louise shared the powerful concept of ‘leaving no trace’ when out in nature. This includes not moving or introducing non-native species, something easily done by cleaning boots and equipment between trips. Hoping to sit around the campfire? Louise talks about the importance of buying and burning only local firewood.
“Don’t bring firewood home as it can introduce pests and diseases into new areas. Buy from a local source or gather it in a responsible way where allowed,” she said.
Insects can easily hitchhike on firewood tucking into nooks and crannies you’d never notice. Because the spread of invasive species and diseases can destroy our forests, we urge you to protect them by keeping firewood local.
Mindful of current BC campfire restrictions and the early start to wildfire season in BC, if your long weekend adventures are taking you to a place where campfires are still permitted, we hope you’ll add invasive-wise camping to your responsible campfire practice, by following the principles of Buy Local Burn Local and Play Clean Go. Before leaving your campsite, inspect your belongings and remove any dirt, plants, or bugs. Invasive plant seeds can be stuck on you or your belongings. Give them the brush off and bring home nothing but good memories.
Have fun in the great outdoors this weekend. Just don’t let invasive species become part of the adventure.
Lisa is a Communications and Outreach Coordinator at ISCBC. She values a diverse environment and connecting with others about environmental protection. In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time at the ocean and beach combing for sea glass. You can reach Lisa at [email protected]